INDEPENDENCE, Ohio, July 8 — Brother E.G. (Jerry) LaPrath was elected by acclamation to the office of General Chairman at the Burlington Northern Santa Fe/Montana Rail Link (BNSF/MRL) General Committee of Adjustment’s (GCA) 14th triennial meeting in Las Vegas, Nevada, on June 20, 2016.
A member of BLET Division 392 (Havre, Mont.), Brother LaPrath hired out in 1979 as a clerk with the Burlington Northern out of Laurel, Mont. He transferred to train service and began working as a switchman/brakeman in 1980, and earned promotion to locomotive engineer out of Havre, Mont., in 1994. He has held continuous membership in BLET Division 392 since June 1, 1997.
Also elected by acclamation were: 1st Vice Chairman Matt O. Wilson, Division 104 (Spokane, Wash.); 2nd Vice Chairman Ken J. Psota, Division 623 (McCook, Neb.); 3rd Vice Chairman Matt E. Brandt, Division 727 (Sterling, Colo.); 4th Vice Chairman Steven V. Halbrook, Division 94 (Gillette, Wyo.); and Secretary-Treasurer Kevin E. Foley, Division 517 (St. Paul, Minn.).
Alternate officers elected by acclamation were: 1st Alternate Vice Chairman Steven E. Snyder, Division 104 (Spokane, Wash.); 2nd Alternate Vice Chairman Brian H. Fransen, Division 207 (Casper, Wyo.); and 3rd Alternate Vice Chairman Jess J. Nelson, Division 842 (Klamath Falls, Ore.). Brother Chris H. Bartley, Division 58 (Wishram, Wash.), was elected Alternate Secretary-Treasurer.
Representing the BLET National Division at the meeting were: National President Dennis R. Pierce; National Secretary-Treasurer Stephen J. Bruno; Vice President and National Legislative Representative John P. Tolman; National Vice President Michael D. Priester; and National Vice President R.C. (Rick) Gibbons. BLET Special Representatives David B. Ditzel and Richard A. Olson also attended.
“I offer my heartfelt congratulations and thanks to Brother LaPrath and all officers of the BNSF/MRL General Committee of Adjustment,” said President Pierce, who served as General Chairman of the BNSF/MRL GCA from 2001-2008. “I must also recognize Brother Wilson for his years of service as General Chairman. It is heartwarming that the officers of this General Committee continue to work together in a spirit of solidarity for the betterment of the members they represent and for our Brotherhood as a whole.”
Representing the International Brotherhood of Teamsters at the meeting were: Ken Hall, Teamsters General Secretary-Treasurer; and Sean O’Brien, Teamsters International Vice President–Eastern Region. Both officers addressed the delegates.
Additional BLET special guests included: General Chairman Bobby J. Brown, BNSF (C&S, CRI&P/FWD) GCA; General Chairman J. Alan Holdcraft, BNSF (AT&SF) GCA; and General Chairman Jeff L. Thurman, BNSF (STL-SF) GCA.
Brother LaPrath served Division 392 as Local Chairman from 2002-2007. He was elected to serve the BNSF/MRL GCA as 3rd Vice Chairman in 2007, 2nd Vice Chairman in 2010, and 1st Vice Chairman in 2013. He was elected by acclamation each time.
In addition to the election of officers, the 44 delegates in attendance addressed various Bylaws issues and conducted business for the good of the Order.
The BNSF/MRL GCA is the largest GCA in the BLET, representing nearly 6,500 active and retired members from 44 different BLET Divisions.